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Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes and Tips for Relief

Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes and Tips for Relief

Back pain can be brutal, and if you’re pregnant there aren’t many pain medications you can take to ease your pain. There are many causes for your pain that are directly related to your pregnancy. Your growing baby can pull on the muscles and tendons, the extra weight can be a stress, as well as throw your center of gravity off. What can you do to help alleviate the tension and back pain during pregnancy? My fiancee, who is currently pregnant, enjoys hot baths to alleviate the pain. Cold can help too, so put an ice pack on the affected area. Acetaminophen in low doses may be safe but you should always consult a doctor about taking it first. Your hormones are going crazy right now, which can cause a great deal of pain on its own. If you add in the fact that the life you’re carrying is growing exponentially you can expect the kind of pain that you won’t soon forget. Did I mention that you can’t take pain medication? If you’ve looked everywhere for relief look no further.

Tips for relief

There are other ways to help soothe your pregnancy woes than dangerous drugs. Holistic approaches such as acupuncture are viable options. More proven methods, like chiropractors in extreme cases, would fix any alignment issues or correct posture problems that result from carrying the extra load. You’re almost there! Unless you had back problems before you got pregnant, the symptoms are likely to lessen before giving birth. After the pregnancy they should desist entirely.

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I’ve always found that deep breathing helps clear your mind of all the troubles of the world; meditation can take your mind off pain. You’ll want to get in the most comfortable seated position possible. Start with your toes and focus on relaxing that one part of the body. Once your toes are relaxed, work your way up the legs. Then you can begin to relax all the muscles in your torso, but remember to keep breathing deep. Concentrate on relaxing your arms and then your neck and head. If this doesn’t help you take your mind off the pain, try some stretching that focuses on the back. This Pinterest page on Prenatal Yoga has some ideas that would help you if you are experiencing back pain during pregnancy.

Lower back stretch

Lying on your back, stretch your arms and legs out so that you look like a pregnant gingerbread woman, or a child making snow angels. Take your right leg and move it to the left, over your other leg while keeping both shoulders on the ground. You should ease into it and move your left leg back so that your legs are in opposite positions now. You may not be able to get your right leg to the floor but this will help your lower back. Do it for both legs to help that sore lower back.

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Upper back stretch

This one you can do seated. Start by taking your left leg and pointing it straight forward while keeping it on the ground. Your right leg should go over that one so that your right foot is on the left of your left knee. Now take your left arm and rest it on your right knee, that should be used to help you stretch your back to the right. Go slow, don’t over extend yourself too much. If you are able to face your right side perpendicularly to your left leg this will help stretch you upper back. And if you’re looking for more of a mid-back stretch, a downward dog position should be effective. Just make sure to practice these so that you’ll become more limber and the pain will lessen.

Being pregnant takes a lot of energy, so make sure to get enough rest. You should however, try sleeping in different positions to see which one hurts your back less. Most people find lying on their side will help but you may be different. Stretching just before bed with help you sleep more comfortably and wake up with less soreness or pain.

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If you have someone who is willing to or want to spend the money on a masseuse, a thorough back massage will also lessen some tension. Or you might also try having an orgasm, which releases endorphins that block pain signals–however you arrive there. Heating pads are easy to use. There are electric kinds and ones that you heat up in a microwave. A simple DIY heating pad is to put a few cups of rice in a sock. Tie it off at the end and pop it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Nothing sounds more relaxing than an oil massage with hot rocks, just remember to use the oven for those. Don’t overcook your rocks, and when you’re lying down for your partner to give you a massage you will need to use pillows to make sure there is no weight on your baby. Light some candles or use an aromatic scent and let them caress the pain out of you.

Warning!

The most important thing to remember is that if the pain becomes too severe you need to go to a doctor. Sudden and severe back pain could mean a serious problem. If your pain is coming in waves it could be contractions. You might be going into preterm labor. You should go to a hospital or see a doctor immediately.

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Breathe easier

Now that you’ve curbed your back pain you can feel better about yourself and your baby. They might be causing you some pain but they will be here soon, and as you greet them and usher them into their new world they will bring you enough joy to make you forget all your worries (and pregnancy pains). Should you decide to have another, remember what has worked for you this time. Many pregnancies are different. Subsequent children may be more trouble to carry than the last, or easier. These tips can help you throughout the journey to building your family.

One more thing. Though your body is growing to help make room for your baby know that you are still as beautiful as the day you conceived, if not more. Whatever stress you are holding onto should be let go. The stress hormones in your body are shared with your baby, and lower back pain is related to those stress hormones. Whatever you can do to relax and have a happy pregnancy will not only help you but you your baby as well.

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Published on February 11, 2021

3 Positive Discipline Strategies That Are Best For Your Child

3 Positive Discipline Strategies That Are Best For Your Child

I’m old enough to remember how the cane at school was used for punishment. My dad is old enough to think that banning corporal punishment in schools resulted in today’s poorly disciplined youth. With all of this as my early experiences, there was a time when I would have been better assigned to write about how to negatively discipline your child.

What changed? Thankfully, my wife showed me different approaches for discipline that were very positive. Plus, I was open to learning.

What has not changed is that kids are full of problems with impulses and emotions that flip from sad to happy, then angry in a moment. Though we’re not that different as adults with stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and stimulants such as sugar and caffeine in our diets.

Punishment as Discipline?

What this means is that we usually take the easy path when a child misbehaves and punish them. Punishment may solve an isolated problem, but it’s not really teaching the kids anything useful in the long term.

Probably it’s time for me to be clear about what I mean by punishment and discipline as these terms are often used interchangeably, but they are quite different.

Discipline VS. Punishment

Punishment is where we inflict pain or suffering on our child as a penalty. Discipline means to teach. They’re quite the opposite, but you’ll notice that teachers, parents, and coaches often confuse the two words.

So, as parents, we have to have clear goals to teach our kids. It’s a long-term plan—using strategies that will have the longest-lasting impact on our kids are the best use of our time and energy.

If you’re clear about what you want to achieve, then it becomes easier to find the best strategy. The better we are at responding when our kids misbehave or do not follow our guidance, the better the results are going to be.

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3 Positive Discipline Strategies for Your Child

Stay with me as I appreciate that a lot of people who read these blogs do not always have children with impulse control. We’ve had a lot of kids in our martial arts classes that were the complete opposite. They had concentration issues, hyperactive, and disruptive to the other children.

The easy solution is to punish their parents by removing the kids from the class or punish the child with penalties such as time outs and burpees. Yes, it was tempting to do all of this, but one of our club values is that we pull you up rather than push you down.

This means it’s a long-term gain to build trust and confidence, which is destroyed by constant punishments.

Here are the discipline strategies we used to build trust and confidence with these hyperactive kids.

1. Patience

The first positive discipline strategy is to simply be patient. The more patient you are, the more likely you are to get results. Remember I said that we need to build trust and connection. You’ll get further with this goal using patience.

As a coach, sometimes I was not the best person for this role, but we had other coaches in the club that could step in here. As a parent, you may not have this luxury, so it’s really important to recognize any improvements that you see and celebrate them.

2. Redirection

The second strategy we use is redirection. It’s important with a redirection to take “no” out of the equation. Choices are a great alternative.

Imagine a scenario where you’re in a restaurant and your kid is wailing. The hard part here is getting your child to stop screaming long enough for you to build a connection. Most parents have calming strategies and if you practice them with your child, they are more likely to be effective.

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In the first moment of calm, you can say “Your choice to scream and cry in public is not a good one. It would be best to say, Dad. What can I do to get ice-cream?” You can replace this with an appropriate option.

The challenge with being calm and redirecting is that we need to be clear-minded, focused, and really engaged at the moment. If you’re on your phone, talking with friends or family, thinking about work or the bills, you’ll miss this opportunity to discipline in a way that has long-term benefits.

3. Repair and Ground Rules

The third positive discipline strategy is to repair and use ground rules. Once you’ve given the better option and it has been taken, you have a chance to repair this behavior to lessen its occurrence to better yet, prevent it from happening again. And by setting appropriate ground rules, you can make this a long-term win by helping your child improve their behavior.

It’s these ground rules that help you correct the poor choices of your child and direct the behavior that you want to see.

Consequences Versus Ultimatums

When I was a child and being punished. My parents worked in a busy business for long hours, so their default was to go to ultimatums. “Do that again and you’re grounded for a week,” or “If I catch you doing X, you’ll go to bed without dinner”.

Looking back, this worked to a point. But the flip side is that I remembered more of the ultimatums than the happier times. I’ve learned through trial and error with my own kids that consequences are more effective while not breaking down trust.

What to Do When Ground Rules Get Broken?

It’s on the consequences that you use when the ground rules are broken.

In the martial arts class, when the hyperactive student breaks the ground rules. They would miss a turn in a game or go to the back of the line in a queue. We do not want to shame the child by isolating them. But on the flip side, there should be clear ground rules and proportionate consequences.

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Yes, there are times when we would like to exclude the student from the class, the club, and even the universe. Again, it’s here that patience is so important and probably impulse control too. With an attainable consequence, you can maintain trust and you’re more likely to get the long-term behavior that you’re looking to achieve.

Interestingly, we would occasionally hear a strategy from parents that little Kevin has been misbehaving at home with his sister or something similar. He likes martial arts training, so the parent would react by removing Kevin from the martial arts class as a punishment.

We would suggest that this would remove Kevin from an environment where he is behaving positively. Removing him from this is likely to be detrimental to the change you would like to see. He may even feel shame when he returns to the class and loses all the progress he’s made.

Alternatives to Punishment

Another option is to tell Kevin to write a letter to his sister, apologizing for his behavior, and explaining how he is going to behave in the future.

If your child is too young to write, give the apology face to face. For the apology to feel sincere, there is some value to pre-framing or practicing this between yourself and your child before they give it to the intended person.

Don’t expect them to know the ground rules or what you’re thinking! It will be clearer to your child and better received with some practice. You can practice along the lines of: “X is the behavior I did, Y is what I should have done, and Z is my promise to you for how I’m going to act in the future.” You can replace XYZ with the appropriate actions.

It does not need to be a letter or in person, it can even be a video. But there has to be an intention to repair the broken ground rule. If you try these strategies, that is become fully engaged with them and you’re still getting nowhere.

But what to do if these strategies do not work? Then there is plenty to gain by seeking the help of an expert. Chances are that something is interfering or limiting their development.

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This does not mean that your child has a neurological deficiency, although this may be the root cause. But it means that you can get an objective view and help on how to create the changes that you would like to see. Remember that using positive discipline strategies is better than mere punishment.

There are groups that you can chat with for help. Family Lives UK has the aim of ensuring that all parents have somewhere to turn before they reached a crisis point. The NSPCC also provides a useful guide to positive parenting that you can download.[1]

Bottom Line

So, there your go, the three takeaways on strategies you can use for positively disciplining your child. The first one is about you! Be patient, be present, and think about what is best for the long term. AKA, avoid ultimatums and punishment. The second is to use a redirect, then repair and repeat (ground rules) as your 3-step method of discipline.

Using these positive discipline strategies require you to be fully engaged with your child. Again, being impulsive breaks trust and you lose some of the gains you’ve both worked hard to achieve.

Lastly, consequences are better than punishment. Plus, avoid shaming, especially in public at all costs.

I hope this blog has been useful, and remember that you should be more focused on repairing bad behavior because being proactive and encouraging good behavior with rewards, fun, and positive emotions takes less effort than repairing the bad.

More Tips on How To Discipline Your Child

Featured photo credit: Leo Rivas via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] NSPCC Learning: Positive parenting

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